Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Only connect? Older lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adults and social capital

  • ANN CRONIN (a1) and ANDREW KING (a2)
Abstract

The concept of social capital is widely used in the social sciences and has, to an extent, been applied to the lives and social networks of older lesbian, gay and bisexual (hereafter LGB) adults. Developing existing research, this paper argues that while not without its problems, the concept of social capital enriches our understanding of these networks, whilst simultaneously deconstructing the negative stereotypes surrounding homosexuality in later life. However, little attention has been paid to the social factors that mediate access and participation in lesbian and gay communities and the implications of this on the quality and experience of later life. Drawing on qualitative research conducted in the United Kingdom, this paper illustrates how biography, gender and socio-economic status are significant mediators in the development and maintenance of social capital by older LGB adults. It concludes with a set of recommendations aimed at improving the social capital of older LGB adults, together with the importance of ‘queering’ the concept itself.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Andrew King, School of Social Science, Kingston University, Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames KT1 2EE, UK. E-mail: a.king@kingston.ac.uk
References
Hide All
Age Concern 2002. Issues Facing Older Lesbians, Gay Men and Bisexuals. Available online at http://www.ageconcern.org.uk/AgeConcern/Documents/OLGMppp.pdf [Accessed 4 February 2008].
Altman, D. 1982. The Homosexualization of America. Beacon Press, Boston.
Bell, D. and Binnie, J. 2004. Authenticating queer space: citizenship, urbanism and governance. Urban Studies, 41, 9, 1807–20.
Bell, D. and Valentine, G. 1995. Mapping Desire: Geographies of Sexualities. Routledge, London.
Bourdieu, P. 1984. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Routledge and Kegan Paul, London.
Bourdieu, P. 1988. Homo Academicus. Polity Press, Cambridge.
Bryman, A. 2004. Social Research Methods. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Campbell, C. and McLean, C. 2002. Ethnic identities, social capital and health inequalities: factors shaping African-Caribbean participation in local community networks in the UK. Social Science and Medicine, 55, 4, 643–57.
Coleman, J. S. 1994. Foundations of Social Theory. Belknap, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Cronin, A. 2004. Sexuality in gerontology: a heteronormative presence, a queer absence. In Daatland, S. O and Biggs, S. (eds), Ageing and Diversity: multiple pathways and cultural migrations. Policy Press, Bristol. p107122.
Cronin, A. and King, A. 2010a. A queer kind of care: some preliminary notes and observations. In Ward, R. and Jones, R. (eds), LGBT issues: looking beyond categories. Dunedin, Edinburgh. p6981.
Cronin, A. and King, A. 2010b. Power, inequality and identification: exploring diversity and intersectionality amongst older LGB adults. Sociology, 44, 5: 876892
Davies, M., Addis, S., MacBride-Stewart, S. and Shepherd, M. 2006. The Health, Social Care and Housing Needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Older People: Literature Review. Centre for Health Sciences Research, Cardiff University, Cardiff.
Davies, P. and River, L. 2006. Being Taken Seriously: The Polari in Partnership Project – Promoting Change for Older Lesbians, Gay Men and Bisexuals. Available online at http://www.casweb.org/polari/file-storage/ [Accessed 31 October 2008].
Dorfman, R., Walters, K., Burke, P., Hardin, L., Karanik, T. and Raphael, J. 1995. Old, sad and alone: the myth of the aging homosexual. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 24, 1/2, 2944.
Edwards, B. and Foley, M. W. 1998. Civil society and social capital beyond Putnam. American Behavioral Scientist, 42, 1, 124–39.
Field, J. 2008. Social Capital. Routledge, London.
Fish, J. 2006. Heterosexism in Health and Social Care. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK.
Fokkema, T. and Kuyper, L. 2009. The relation between social embeddedness and loneliness among older lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults in the Netherlands. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 38, 2, 264–75.
Grossman, A. H., D'Augelli, A. R. and Dragowski, E. A. 2007. Care giving and care receiving among older lesbian, gay and bisexual adults. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, 18, 3/4, 1538.
Hash, K. M. and Netting, F. E. 2009. It takes a community: older lesbians meeting social and care needs. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, 21, 4, 326–42.
Heaphy, B. 2009. The storied, complex lives of older GLBT adults: choices and its limits in older lesbian and gay narratives of relational life. Journal of GLBT Family Studies, 5, 1-2, 119–38.
Heaphy, B. and Yip, A. K. T. 2006. Policy implications of ageing sexualities. Social Policy and Society, 5, 4, 443–51.
Hunt, R. and Minsky, A. 2005. Reducing Health Inequalities for Lesbian Gay and Bisexual People: Evidence of Health Care Needs. Stonewall, London.
Kehoe, M. 1991. Loneliness and the aging homosexual: is pet therapy the answer? Journal of Homosexuality, 20, 3/4, 137–41.
Langley, J. 2001. Developing anti-oppressive empowering social work practice with older lesbian women and gay men. British Journal of Social Work, 31, 917–32.
Molyneux, M. 2002. Gender and the silences of social capital: lessons from Latin America. Development and Change, 33, 2, 167–88.
Munro, I. 2002. The lived experience of gay men caring for others with HIV/AIDS: living, loving and dying in the era of HIV//AIDS. Unpublished PhD thesis, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.
Portes, A. 1998. Social capital: its origins and applications in modern sociology. Annual Review of Sociology, 24, 1, 124.
Price, E. 2005. All but invisible: older gay men and lesbians. Nursing Older People, 17, 4, 1618.
Putnam, R. D. 1993. Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.
Putnam, R. D. 1995. Bowling alone: America's declining social capital. Journal of Democracy, 6, 1, 6578.
Putnam, R. D. 2000. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. Simon and Schuster, New York.
Richard, C. A. and Brown, A. H. 2006. Configurations of informal social support among older lesbians. Journal of Women & Aging, 18, 4, 4965.
Rosenfeld, D. 2002. Identity careers of older gay men and lesbians. In Gubrium, F. and Holstein, J. (eds), Ways of Aging. Blackwell, Oxford. p160181
Shippy, R., Cantor, M. and Brennan, M. 2004. Social networks of aging gay men. The Journal of Men's Studies, 13, 1, 107–20.
Skeggs, B. 2004. Class, Self, Culture. Routledge, London.
Skocpol, T. 1996. Unraveling from above. American Prospect, 25, 20–5.
Sullivan, J. S., Borgida, E., Jackson, M. S., Riedel, E., Oxendine, A. and Gangl, A. 2002. Social capital and community electronic networks, for-profit versus for-community. American Behavioral Scientist, 45, 5, 868–86.
Wakeford, N. 2000. Cyberqueer. In Bell, D. and Kennedy, B. M. (eds), The Cybercultures Reader. Routledge, New York. p350362
Weeks, J. 1977. Coming Out: Homosexual Politics in Britain from the 19th Century to the Present. Quartet, London.
Weeks, J., Heaphy, B. and Donovan, C. 2001. Same-sex Intimacies: Families of Choice and Other Life Experiments. Routledge, London.
Weston, K. 1991. Families We Chose: Lesbians, Gays, Kinship. Columbia University Press, New York.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Ageing & Society
  • ISSN: 0144-686X
  • EISSN: 1469-1779
  • URL: /core/journals/ageing-and-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 29
Total number of PDF views: 198 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1644 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 17th July 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.